Power Port v. 2; or, another fun day at St. Mike’s

Cast back a week to my third chemo, and how my newly placed portacath was going to make launching IVs and digging for  blood return a thing of the past. Recall how it didn’t work, and how three nurses tried unsuccessfully to get the damn thing to work.
     In the notes of the procedure, apparently there was a kink in the line, but those kinks usually work themselves out. In my case, of course, it didn’t straighten out, it became useless.
     Today I went in to have it fixed. When radiology called me late Friday afternoon they said “You’re getting a port inserted.” I said no, I already have one. They said, “Then you’re having it removed.” I said no, I need it for chemo. I think it needs a repair. “Oh well, then that must be what we’re doing.”
     I was filled with confidence.
     I told radiology I could not go through that surgery without more and stronger meds. She said, tell them as soon as you’re in. I then called my cancer navigator and asked her to look up my meds from my gastro consult on Dec. 24, which she did.
     While unable to sleep last night (lack of sleep is a recurrent, or chronic, problem with me since before chemo began), I researched portacath insertion meds and made notes. I printed out where someone could find the consult notes in my ER, and what the dose was that I think I need.
     I was at the hospital for the entire day. I advocated for better sedation with two doctors and a nurse. It worked. I got two meds instead of one. I felt a deep calm. My legs were not twitching, my mind was not racing. The doc did his thing, straightened out the catheter wire, got blood return, and pronounced the procedure a success. I slept in recovery for almost three hours. It was like Heaven.
     Then phone calls started coming in—the brakes on my man’s car failed and he shot across six lanes of traffic before picking the biggest snowbank he could see and plowing into it. He extremely shaken, but wasn’t hurt, but he also wasn’t driving me home as we had planned. Tessa had to leave the hospital early today to meet Luka for an appointment at SickKids, but I needed to get my car out of the parking lot. Tessa and Luka came back down to St. Mike’s, and five hours after the procedure I got behind the wheel. I thought that was preferable to having Tessa drive me home (hahahaha! no license). Ten minutes after starting the drive home, the freezing fell out of my chest, and I had no pain pills. Nice…
But there was a surprise at home! A padded envelope from friend and co-worker Annie. She is a knitter, and not a keep-me-hands-busy knitter,, but a committed I-can-make-any-sweater-sock-puppet-hat knitter. Last Friday she sent me a handknit alpaca cap in khaki. Today, it was a seafoan green toque, soft and warm with a very cool button on it. Now that I am entirely bald, and the temps are -18, these toques are not just accessories, they are necessities. Thank you, Annie!

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